Thursday, July 29, 2010


Also known as Hardhack and Steeple-Flower, spiraea douglasii is a common native wetland plant in our area. It is the dominant species in much of our swamp, and this time of year it is in full bloom.
Looking down from the observation platform, the swamp looks like a lush meadow sprinkled with bright spikes of fluffy pink flowers. But as is so often the case, looks can be deceiving. It's actually an impenetrable thicket, a thick, 8 foot high tangle of small woody stems growing over the soggy and uneven ground. No frolicing in this "meadow"!

Spirea is often thought of as a nuisance plant. It's a common weed in my flower beds and garden, and has to be cut back away from outbuildings, trails and driveways every year. It's vigorous, opportunistic, and tolerant of just about any growing conditions. In its proper place, however, it's a magnificent plant, and I am really enjoying the blooming of our swamp this year.

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